Originally posted by Abasan
Above all, when you ask to join, see if the Sensei checks YOUR background or not. If he accepts you at a whim...hmm. I think its more important for the sensei to study the prospective student then the other way around. If not he could be teaching potentially dangerous techniques to a bunch of loonies or maybe he's just in it for the money (yeah rite, rich aikido senseis, that'll be the day).
But if he seriously gives consideration to take or not to take students, then I guess he has more then just materialistic concerns when he runs the dojo.
Oh... and try not to have any excess 'baggage' when you go there.
It would be a problem for any teacher to attempt to be selective about who gets admitted to a dojo if they advertise for students and the impression is created that the dojo is open to the public. We have ads in the yellow pages, we post brochures, we have a website on the Internet. All of that sets up an expectation that the dojo is a business that offers a service to the public.
Trying to weed out "bad apples" before they start would open you up to charges of descrimination and potential law suits. If I wanted to be exclusive about who I trained I would have to set up the dojo on a different model (which would probably mean we would have a much different, read smaller, dojo than we have). On the other hand you should see my "negative" sales pitch when I get someone trying to enroll about whom I am uncomfortable (the last guy was the guy with the nervous eye twitch who had apparently trained and had problems with several other martial arts schools before arriving at my doorstep).
Also, be careful of the guys who make it appear that they are exclusive. If they make you feel that they are doing you a favor by accepting you you are often seeing one of the oldest ploys in the world at work.